Political Dodgeball: Updating Social Security

En español | You may have played dodgeball as a child. If you didn’t, the premise is pretty simple: Dodge any ball that is hurled in your direction while trying to throw balls at other players to knock them out of the game. The last two people in the game usually square off in some form of “chicken,” and the last person standing wins. Sounds eerily reminiscent of our political process for the presidency too, doesn’t it? Avoid specifics and …

Revisiting the Political Playbook on Medicare

It was once accepted conventional wisdom in politics that messing with federal retirement programs would sink a candidate with older voters. Want to win retiree-rich Florida? Then just attack your opponent as a threat to Social Security or Medicare or both. During the 1992 Democratic presidential primary, Bill Clinton took one little paragraph from Paul Tsongas’ treatise, “A Call to Economic Arms,” in which his rival floated the idea of a 1 percent reduction in cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security. …

Romney Narrows Gap With Obama On Medicare Issue

By Phil Galewitz, Staff Writer, Kaiser Health News As the race for the White House has tightened, President Barack Obama has seen his advantage on several key health issues narrow significantly among likely voters, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Oct. 31. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) Most troublesome for Obama is that, among likely voters, GOP candidate Mitt Romney has pulled nearly even with him on which candidate would do a better job …

5 Ways to Stay Out of the Presidential Debate Spin Cycle

With President Obama holding a narrow lead in the polls and looking to close the sale, and challenger Mitt Romney searching for a game-changing big play, the stakes in this year’s presidential debates are probably even higher than usual. The initial debate, which will focus on domestic policy, takes place on Wednesday at 9 p.m. (Eastern Time) in Denver, with PBS NewsHour host Jim Lehrer moderating. From PBS, here’s a preview of the debate. Even before the candidates meet on stage, both campaigns are furiously trying to …

Obama, Biden Define the Democratic Messages on Medicare and Social Security

On Medicare and Social Security, the battle lines for the presidential election are now clearly drawn. Last night, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, in accepting their party’s nominations at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., put in the plainest language yet how they will seek to frame the plans of their Republican opponents, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Biden led off, telling the audience that Romney and Ryan talked “about how they cared so much about …

In Accepting His Party’s Nomination, Mitt Romney Covers Some 50+ Territory, But Just Barely

Republican Mitt Romney routinely edges out President Obama among older voters. Yet in accepting his party’s presidential nomination Thursday night, he made only fleeting references to the health and retirement security issues facing older Americans. Romney pledged to lead a “united America [that] will care for the poor and the sick, will honor and respect the elderly, and will give a helping hand to those in need.” He did not elaborate. He also pledged to create a future “where no …